OPINION: Let this stand as a warning to all women, there are some creepy men out there.
I was out with a group of friends on a Saturday night. The music was great, the wine was good and I even busted out a few dance moves to Blue Suede Shoes. The evening was filled with witty interludes and it was wonderful . . . until I had a very unpleasant experience.
A man, who I didn’t know, walked up behind me and in one swift movement put his hand up the back of my dress and very nearly succeeded in putting his fingers inside my underwear.
I don’t know how to describe how I felt in that instant, except that it was scary and I was shocked.
For the briefest of seconds I considered letting it go, to pass him off as scum and to go back to enjoying my night, but I couldn’t. So as he walked away from me I stormed after him.
The look in his eyes when I tapped him on the shoulder said it all. With all of the courage I could muster I said, ‘‘If I ever see you lay an unwanted hand on a woman again I will hunt you down and cut your dick off.’’
It wasn’t very polite of me, in fact it may even be classed as threatening behaviour, but I didn’t care.
He had invaded my personal space, touched me without asking and made me feel violated.
There was no way I was going to become docile and meek, or let him think this sort of behaviour was OK
In the end the doorman removed him from the bar and the police did a walk-through of the building. But for two days after that night I sat at home feeling uneasy.
What struck me deeply about this was that I was not alone, nor was I drunk or vulnerable. I was with my friends in a situation where I felt safe, and yet someone I didn’t know still thought it was alright to do that.
I was sickened to discover there were 3312 reported cases of sexual assault in New Zealand between June 2011 and June 2012. That’s an increase of 14.9 per cent over the previous two periods.
3312 reported cases in one year means there are, on average, 70 sexual assaults in New Zealand a week. And those are only the cases that are reported.
It is never OK to touch someone inappropriately, and the sick and twisted perverts who do it deserve to rot.
It seems that for as long as history has been recorded there have been incidents where women have been hurt or taken advantage of. We were often considered to be the weaker sex, the property of men, to be there for their convenience and to be slaves for cooking, cleaning and sex.
But we now live in a civilised society and we are not here to be stared at, or touched inappropriately; we do not belong to anyone and only we will decide what we feel comfortable with.
I know that there are far worse things happening to women than what happened to me, but it’s not a nice feeling. It’s not a feeling I want anyone else to experience.
The incident did have a positive side. Not only do I now have a deeper appreciation for men who treat women with respect, but I also intend to enroll in a self-defence class.
If this ever happens again I will bust out some pretty awesome and incredibly painful moves.
Then let’s see who feels vulnerable.
Take care my lovelies, be safe.
Modern Maiden’s five tips to keeping yourself safe when you are out:
* Make sure you are with friends at all times. Watch out for each other. know where your friends are and make sure each friend gets home safely.
* Never leave your drink unattended, or accept a drink that you did not watch being poured. If you lose sight of your drink for a while, get a new one.
* Don’t drink so much that you don‘t know what you’re doing. You need to have some ability to protect yourself if the situation arises.
* Make friends with the doorman or the bouncer; it is their job to protect you.
* Be sensible and careful. Do not walk home alone, do not leave with a stranger and always, always, always have your safety as your top priority of the night.
Have you ever felt unsafe in a NZ taxi?Related story: Taxi group to look into sex assault complaints
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